What type of reaction takes places when sodium hydroxide reacts with sulfuric acid?

Expert Answers
gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An exothermic, neutralization reaction takes place when sodium hydroxide reacts with sulfuric acid. The chemical reaction can be written as:

`2 NaOH + H_2SO_4 -> Na_2SO_4 + 2 H_2O`

In this reaction, the end product is sodium sulphate and water. The reaction generates a lot of heat energy (and hence should be carried out with proper care and one should use appropriate protective gear). This reaction represents interaction between a strong base and a strong acid, which causes a neutralization reaction. The hydrogen and hydroxyl ions combine together to form water and hence the solution gets neutralized. 

Neutralization reactions are used to neutralize solutions with a high or a low pH. For example, a solution of sodium hydroxide is alkaline and can be neutralized with a strong acid. Neutralization reactions are often used in industries to neutralize their waste products before releasing them to the environment.

Hope this helps.